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Monday, March 25, 2019

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"Corals" by Arline Fisch (Photos: Will Gullette, courtesy of Arline Fisch) "Corals" by Arline Fisch (Photos: Will Gullette, courtesy of Arline Fisch)

Colorful Work on Exhibit at the Mingei Museum

Arline Fisch created SDSU’s top-ranked jewelry and metalsmithing program.
By Coleen L. Geraghty

The imaginative artistry of San Diego State University professor emeritus Arline Fisch is on display through Jan. 7, 2018, in the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park.

“One of a Kind” is the second major exhibition of Fisch’s work mounted by the Mingei. The display includes necklaces, brooches, bracelets and pendants, as well as body ornaments such as a pectoral, headpiece, belt buckle, and pomanders—many on loan from the artist.

Also on view is the Mingei’s collection of knitted and crocheted color-coated copper wire hanging flowers and sea creatures, which were first shown at the museum in the 2009 exhibit, “Fisch out of Water.”

Wonderfully out there

“Arline is a complete artist craftsman,” said Rob Sidner, executive director and CEO of the Mingei International Museum. “She is a marvelous designer with great imagination and superb technical skill. Some of her work is wonderfully out there and yet, it’s accessible.”

Sidner added that the first show he curated for the Mingei in 1993, “Heirlooms for the Future,” included pieces by Fisch.

Creator and innovator

Fisch retired from SDSU in 2000 after nearly 40 years of teaching and mentoring students. She established the university’s jewelry and metalsmithing program in 1961 and later created a master of fine arts program in the discipline.

Internationally, she is known as the first artist to combine jewelry-making and weaving into a unique art form. The idea of marrying these very different crafts first occurred to her during a visit to Central and South America, where she saw pre-Columbian textiles embellished with gold and metallic pieces. Fisch’s first collection of woven gold items was shown in London, Vienna and California.

Throughout her teaching career, Fisch continued to develop the textile techniques that brought her fame. She has received the American Craft Council Gold Medal and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Her “Textile Techniques in Metal,” published in 1975, is considered the seminal book on textiles and metal construction.